Wellbutrin (bupropion hydrochloride) is a brand-name drug that’s prescribed for certain types of depression. The medication comes in these forms: extended-release tablet and sustained-release tablet. The cost of Wellbutrin with and without insurance can depend on several factors, such as whether the drug has a savings program.
Wellbutrin belongs to a drug class called antidepressants. It comes in two oral forms:
- sustained-release (SR) tablet
- extended-release (XL) tablet
Both forms have the same active drug. However, the active drug releases more slowly into your body from Wellbutrin XL than from Wellbutrin SR.
Wellbutrin is available in a generic version.
Read on to learn about Wellbutrin and cost, as well as how to save money on prescriptions. If you’d like other information about Wellbutrin, refer to this article.
As with all medications, the cost of Wellbutrin can vary. Factors that may affect the price you’ll pay include:
- your treatment plan
- whether you’re prescribed Wellbutrin XL or Wellbutrin SR
- your insurance coverage
- the pharmacy you use
- whether Wellbutrin has a savings program (see the “Financial and insurance assistance” section below)
To find out what the cost of Wellbutrin will be for you, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.
Note: If you have insurance, your insurance company may require prior authorization before it covers Wellbutrin. This means the company and your doctor will discuss Wellbutrin in regard to your treatment. The insurance company will then determine whether the medication is covered. If a drug requires prior authorization but you start treatment without the prior approval, you could pay the full cost of the medication. You can ask your insurance company whether Wellbutrin requires prior authorization.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about drug cost and Wellbutrin.
How much does Wellbutrin cost without insurance?
The cost of Wellbutrin without insurance depends on multiple factors, such as your dosage, the pharmacy you use, and available savings programs.
To figure out Wellbutrin’s cost without insurance, ask your pharmacist about the drug’s cash price. This is the cost without insurance or discounts. Keep in mind that medications typically cost less with insurance than without insurance.
If you need help covering the cost of your Wellbutrin prescription without insurance, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also refer to the “Financial and insurance assistance” section below.
Is there a cost difference between Wellbutrin XL and Wellbutrin SR?
Typically, there’s not a significant cost difference between Wellbutrin XL and Wellbutrin SR. However, certain factors can affect the cost, such as your pharmacy, insurance coverage, and dosage.
For example, if your doctor prescribes Wellbutrin XL, you may need fewer doses than with Wellbutrin SR. This is because the active drug releases more slowly into your body from Wellbutrin XL than from Wellbutrin SR. So with Wellbutrin XL, you may not need as many doses for the drug to be effective for your condition. And this could possibly lower your cost for the drug.
Your pharmacist can help you determine the cost of Wellbutrin XL versus Wellbutrin SR. You can also talk with your insurance company. They’ll explain your plan’s prescription drug coverage and what your out-of-pocket cost will be. This is the portion of the prescription cost that your insurance doesn’t reimburse.
The active ingredient in Wellbutrin is bupropion hydrochloride. Both Wellbutrin XL and Wellbutrin SR are available in generic versions called bupropion hydrochloride ER. “ER” is short for “extended release,” which means the drug releases slowly into your body.
If your doctor has prescribed Wellbutrin and you’re interested in taking bupropion hydrochloride ER instead, talk with your doctor. They may have a preference for one version or the other. You’ll also need to check with your insurance provider, as it may cover only one or the other.
To find out how the cost of this generic drug compares with the cost of Wellbutrin, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.
WHY ARE COSTS DIFFERENT FOR BRAND-NAME DRUGS VS. GENERIC DRUGS?
Brand-name drugs can be expensive because of the research needed to test their safety and effectiveness. The manufacturer of a brand-name drug can sell it for up to 20 years. When the brand-name drug’s patent expires, multiple manufacturers can create generic versions. This marketplace competition may lead to lower costs for generics. Also, because generics contain the same active ingredients as brand-name drugs, they don’t require the same costly testing.
If you take Wellbutrin long term, you may be able to lower its cost in the following ways.
Getting a 3-month supply
You may be able to get a 90-day supply of Wellbutrin. If approved by your insurance company, getting a 90-day supply of the drug could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.
Using a mail-order pharmacy
Wellbutrin may be available through a mail-order pharmacy. Using this type of service may help lower the drug’s cost and allow you to receive your medication without leaving home. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order medications. You may also be able to get a 90-day supply of the drug via mail order.
Additionally, the manufacturer of Wellbutrin has partnered with a prescription pharmacy service known as PhilRx.* You may be able to get Wellbutrin XL mailed to you directly from PhilRx through the Wellbutrin XL Savings & Support Program.
If you don’t have health insurance, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to suggest online pharmacy options that could work for you.
* PhilRx mail-order delivery applies to Wellbutrin XL only, not Wellbutrin SR.
If you need financial support to pay for Wellbutrin, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available. For example:
- A program called the Wellbutrin XL Savings & Support Program is available for Wellbutrin XL.* For more information and to find out whether you’re eligible for support, visit the program website.
- Some websites provide details about drug assistance programs, ways to make the most of your insurance coverage, and links to savings cards and other services. Two such websites are:
To learn more about saving money on prescriptions with or without insurance, check out this article.
* This savings program is not available for Wellbutrin SR.
Now that you’ve learned about cost and Wellbutrin, you may still have some questions. It may help to talk with your doctor or pharmacist, who can provide personalized guidance about cost issues related to Wellbutrin. But if you have health insurance, you’ll need to talk with your insurance provider to learn the actual cost you would pay for Wellbutrin.
Here are some other resources you may find helpful:
- Medicare drug coverage. To learn about Medicare coverage for drugs, see these articles about Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, drug coupons and Medicare, and the Medicare drug list.
- More details. For details about other aspects of Wellbutrin, refer to this article.
- Interactions. You can find out more about what Wellbutrin interacts with by visiting this article.
- Side effects. For information about Wellbutrin’s side effects, see this article. You can also view the prescribing information for Wellbutrin XL and Wellbutrin SR.
- Information about your condition. To learn about the conditions that Wellbutrin treats, visit our depression hub. You can also refer to this seasonal affective disorder article.
Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.